On the last Saturday afternoon in May, when the season’s first productions at the Stratford Festival were still in previews, visitors to its Tom Patterson Theater were greeted with two warnings at the auditorium entrance. One was the usual kind of advisory, a heads-up that the show they were about to see contained fog, haze, strobe lighting and mature content.
The other sign, in a bold black frame, was more eyebrow-raising — partly because the phrase “mature content” had evidently been judged insufficient on its own. “This production includes explicit scenes of erotocism,” the second warning read.
Aside from the misspelling, it wasn’t wrong. The director Jillian Keiley’s feminist staging of “Bakkhai” — a new translation, by the poet and classicist Anne Carson, of Euripides’ ancient Greek tragedy “The Bacchae” — practically pulses with sexual pleasure, almost all of it female. The women in the play, followers of the god Dionysos, revel in their carnality without self-consciousness or shame — a theme Ms. Keiley was deeply interested in exploring in her dreamlike production, which is lush with music and dance.